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Blinken Tours Turkiye Earthquake Zone, Pledges $100 Mln in Aid

Sun 19 Feb 2023 | 08:47 PM
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
Israa Farhan

On Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken took a helicopter tour of one of the provinces worst affected by the Feb. 6 earthquake in southern Turkiye and northern Syria and pledged a further $100 million in aid to help the victims.

“This is going to be a long-term effort,” Blinken said at Incirlik Air Base, a joint US-Turkish facility that has coordinated the distribution of disaster aid. 

“The search and rescue, unfortunately, is coming to an end. The recovery is on, and then there will be a massive rebuilding operation.”

US President Joe Biden announced $85 million for Turkiye and Syria, days after the earthquake that killed over 44,000 people in the two countries. Washington also sent a search and rescue team, medical supplies, and equipment.

Blinken stated that the additional aid includes $50 million in refugee and emergency migration funds and $50 million in humanitarian aid.

He is making his first trip to NATO ally Turkiye since taking office two years ago. Blinken arrived at Incirlik Air Base, near Adana, on Sunday after attending the Munich Security Conference in Germany.

Blinken made an air tour in the Turkish province of Hatay, accompanied by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. He is expected to meet American and Turkish soldiers and Turkish military families affected by the earthquake.